The late songbird Etta James could not have put it better.
But for the Loughborough Lightning it was a case of At Last on Saturday night.
Led by the hot shooting of Barbados’ ace netballer Nikita Piggott, the Lightning won their first game of the English Netball Super League season when they defeated Team Northumbria 51-39. It was their season-ending game and the victory came after 10 straight defeats.
With current captain Sophia Candappa unable to play because of illness, vice-captain Lauren Steadman stepped up to take the lead role and made an instant impact teaming up with Jodie Gibson to make some important interceptions. This allowed the home side to take an early lead with Piggott getting better service in the shooting circle than she has had in the earlier part of the season.
Both sides made some simple mistakes for such a high level of netball, but Lightning were the team that used this to their advantage and managed to capitalise more on Northumbria’s mistakes to further their lead and end the first quarter 12-7.
The second quarter started very much the same as the first ended, with end to end action. Loughborough’s defence continued to make some fantastic interceptions and rebounds. The second quarter ended 23-17. The third quarter started much slower but Hannah Joseph made some strong passes in to the circle for Piggott and Jamaican Vanessa Walker to convert. The quarter finished 39-24, and it was basically Lightning’s game to lose.The final quarter of the game saw the umpires being kept very busy but Loughborough maintained their lead though Northumbria’s defence did not make life easy for Piggott and Walker, who continued to play well.
Unlike previous games Loughborough made no substitutions. Piggott finished with 31 goals from her 36 attempts, shooting at 86 per cent, while Walker had 20 goals from 27 attempts.††
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